When writing academically you are expected to make your points by constructing arguments and these change your opinion into acceptable statements. Simplistically an argument is:
Argument = Conclusion + Justification
The conclusion is a statement that something is, or should be, the case, in other words the position that you are taking either in response to a question or as the result of some research work you have carried out.
Justification is the term that refers to the evidence that supports your position and the explanation of how it supports your position.
So in effect now we have:
Argument = Position + Evidence + Explanation (PEE)
It is good practice to start with your position but then ‘weave’ the Evidence and Explanation together hopefully in one paragraph. The last sentence of your paragraph should then briefly summarise your position and what argument will follow, thus providing a link from one argument to another.
In terms of the quality of the argument you will need to ensure:
- There is evidence that the person reading your argument (or assignment) can check – obviously this means a clear reference.
- That you have thought about the source of your evidence.
- That your argument clearly links to the question you are addressing.
- That you have not used too many quotations in your argument – it is better to quote key phrases and then too use your own words to paraphrase the rest of the cited work.
Your argument should fit into a good essay structure that should look like:
2. Main Body
The Introduction, that should be around 10% of the whole word count, should:
- Identify the main points and issues of the question being asked,
- Provide some background to the context of your arguments,
- State your overall position vis-à-vis the answer to the question
- The structure the essay or report will take.
The Main Body should:
- · Have a suitable title (obviously not “Main Body”)
- · Set out the arguments that support your position in a logical and coherent manner
- · Include arguments that challenge your position
The Conclusion, that again should be up to 10% of the overall word count, should:
- · Start by restating your position.
- · Summarise the arguments you have made to support your position.
- · Clearly show how these have addresses you question you are answering.